An Opportunity to Receive
June 14, 2015
(M) We’ve just been sitting here in Carole’s lovely living room, and she started telling some things that are so brilliant. But I wanted it on tape, and Jennifer had commented too, so we’re going to try to re-capture the brilliance that just went by. Carole, to start with you were talking about attempting to write a post and what you were learning in writing the post. And so this is a preview of the post that’s coming and being birthed and experienced right now.
(Carole) Well, I really had been trying to write a post. Actually I’ve been trying to not try, but just be and let Him speak through me, because He’s taken me back to the post that I wrote a couple of weeks ago about, just briefly about Matthew 10:41. “If a man receives a prophet in the name of a prophet, and if a man receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man he receives the prophet’s reward and a righteous man’s reward.” (miss quoted) And that’s not exactly in order, but that gives you the gist of it. And so I wrote a little bit about that, but afterward the Lord has just had me on receiving again. And Martha has said… I’ve heard her say lots of times, and you’ll probably read this again on the post if it ever gets birthed, but Martha…
(John) When it gets birthed.
(Carole) Well, when it gets birthed. But Martha has often said, and it goes over and over in my being about the Christian walk, and she says, “It’s really so simple. It’s just about receiving. Just receive.” And so, I’ve been wondering and pondering what that really means and what that has meant through my whole life. What it meant in the very beginning. The book of John says, “For as many as receive Him to them He gave the right to become the sons of God.” Ok. Well, that word receive that sounds very, very simple… “For as many as receive Him…” Well, that just sounds so simple and so easy that in the beginning of my walk, even before the beginning of my walk… But when the Lord came after me to bring that into a reality, He found me as a Pharisee.
(Carole) And, Jennifer was just talking about someone and the possibility of some people having a “vanilla testimony.” And I’ve never heard that before, but I can say this. I did not have a ‘vanilla testimony’ in any way shape or form. But! When I decided that it was time to turn my life around and went back to church, I can remember, distinctly remember being in the car and saying one day, “Ok, Lord, I’m just gonna be a better person from now on. I promise You. I’m just going to be a really good person. I gonna, I’m just not going to be the way I’ve been.”
(J) “I’m going to do it right.”
(Carole) I am going to do it right. And man, I set out to do it too. I was always frustrated, but none the less I should have gotten at least a B- for trying.
(Carole) And so, during that time I spent years walking with Martha. In fact it was over 10 years walking with Martha. Let me say this. I wasn’t walking with Martha. I knew Martha, and I was going to her teachings, and I was even involved a prison ministry with women’s prison every week. I went every week and played the guitar, poorly, but I played the guitar and led the worship there; did all that. And I mean I am really trying to have now a ‘vanilla testimony.’
(Carole) Because I think that’s what God wants. So, after a number of years…
(J) Make the chocolate swirl vanilla.. hahaha.
(Carole) And so at some point, I’m going to try to make this quick and gonna try to tie it in to what the Lord is showing me about receiving. There is a connection here, but anyway after walking for a time with Martha and doing all these things at church and really, really working to look good. And man, I did look pretty good, really. I have to say people thought for the most part…as far as I knew, people thought pretty well of me. Meanwhile my husband is having to watch the kids every Sunday morning because I’m off ministering to inmates at the half-way house. And so he’s got the full responsibility of my children so that I can do those ‘good’ things. But about that time the Lord in His grace came after me, because somewhere… Well, I know why; because I was called from the foundation of the world, I was called. And He stopped me. He came to stop me. He came to save me from myself. And He showed Martha one day rather shockingly. As I recall her story was she was laying on the couch and the Lord spoke to her and said, “Carole is not saved,” and she was really kind of shocked. And it was not real exciting for me either.
(Carole) When she confronted me with that… But it was about that time, and I don’t recall exactly how the Lord did it, but He put the book, “The Tale of Three Kings” by Gene Edwards in my hands. And it is a book as I recall; it’s been years since I’ve read it. But as I recall it was a book about King Saul, who was a liar; Absalom, who was a usurper and a betrayer; and King David, who had a heart after God. And the contrast was so stark..
(Carole) To me that it began to shed light, not a lot, but it began to shed light on my own lies, betrayal and hypocrisy. And I had begun at that point… Martha was involved with me as an authority in my life, and when she confronted me over not being saved… Of course the first thing I did was run to the Scriptures and try to figure out a way that that couldn’t be true, because it did say all you had to do was confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ was Lord and you’re saved, right?? Ok. And I believe I even said that to her at the time. But over the next weeks as the Lord is really, the Holy Spirit is really dealing with me and dealing with me in this book I can remember being on the floor and the Lord said to me… I don’t know if it was verbal but it was very clear, “Whatever the prophet, Martha, says to you, you are to bow. You are to submit and surrender. She’s right.” And in tears, I mean, I heard this and in tears, and I was by this time I had kind of laid down my initial defense of my ‘righteous life,’ and I knew I was caught. And so over the next months, probably several years I was in a real place of repentance. But as I look back at that time what I see that the Lord did by sending me a prophet was, number 1: To expose, to show me that I had a need, because my need was need. I had no need, and you if you have no real need, then you don’t need a Savior. A Pharisee is his or her’s own savior. A Pharisee is a person who so lies to themselves about what is truly in their heart, what is truly the motive, what is truly the intent of their heart. They would rater do that because it suits and it feeds their pride and they would rather hold their pride than be humbled by having their true heart exposed. And the prophet comes; God sends in His love and in His incredible grace, and many times very sternly, because that’s what the Pharisee needs. Look at it in Scripture. The Pharisee is the one that John the Baptist and Christ rebuked sternly and radically. So what I began to see was… And this is in looking back. When you’re going through something, many times you don’t see what’s going on. You may not see for years what’s going on. At least that’s the way it’s been in my life. But what I began to see was that the Lord had brought the messenger, brought a prophet to me to expose, number 1, that I had a need, a need for a Savior. I needed to be saved. I was… Well, let me say this. Martha says, “When you hear the truth, you do one of three things. You either lie to yourself and go ahead and try to perform it, or you realize there’s no way that you can do that and you bow in repentance; or you give up. And I chose to lie and live an unreal life. So the prophet brought need, the fact that I needed a Savior, but the second thing was the Voice, and I heard God say to bow, to submit. And those are two things that are absolutely, that I’m seeing, as I’m looking at this word receiving. Those are the first two things that you must do, that must happen to you before you can truly receive anything from God, anything at all. I was reading in “The Indwelling Life of Christ” by Ian Thomas and he said… It was in the chapter, “What Really Is Sin?” And this is what he says toward the end of it. He says, “Repentance means stepping out of independence back into dependence. And the measure of your repentance will be the measure of your dependence. Every area of your life in which you have not learned to be truly dependent on God is an area of your life in which you have not as yet repented.” And so my need was exposed. I heard the voice of God tell me to bow to the authority that He had put in my life, because in the Kingdom there is a government. I hear so many people say, “Oh, I love the Lord, and yes, I am obedient,” but when it comes down to the government of God and what He has set up and the people that He puts over us in authority… And it can change from day to day, from moment to moment, from Body member to Body member, but in order to come to the place where we will receive that, I believe that repentance leads you to stepping out of independence back into dependence. And that dependence is on God and on God alone. And so receiving is so much deeper. I’m just at the beginning of seeing this. I really, I want to glean what the Holy Spirit, not only is showing me in the process of my life, but every new thing, every new thing that the Lord brings is an opportunity to receive. I think it’s first or second Corinthians 2:12 says that the reason that the Holy Spirit came was to show us what we have freely been given. But all of that means nothing unless we are in a place where we can receive.